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The Lobster Pregnancy Test: A Molecular Tool In Support Of Lobster Stocks And Fisheries In The UK

Irwin, Lucy

The Lobster Pregnancy Test:  A Molecular Tool In Support Of Lobster Stocks And Fisheries In The UK Thumbnail


Authors

Lucy Irwin



Contributors

Ilaria Coscia
Supervisor

Abstract

The European Lobster (Homarus gammarus) is one of the highest value shellfish species landed in the UK and accounts for a large part of British shellfish fisheries. However, high demand for this sought-after commodity has led to overfishing and declining stocks in the last few decades forcing local authorities to impose a course of strategies to conserve stocks. Catch size limits, v-notching sexually mature individuals and a ban on landing ovigerous (egg bearing) females have all been introduced. Intelligence is showing however, that a practice called ‘scrubbing’, where eggs are removed from the abdomen of female lobsters to appear non-ovigerous is taking place. The subsequent harvesting of these individuals will cause further decline in stocks, due to the prevention of stock replenishment. This study has produced a molecular tool for detecting this practice by using indirect ELISA to target antigens exposed in the breaking of the eggs (left behind in a traceable layer on the abdomen). In addition, this study answers further research questions such as the potential for protein degradation over time leading to false negatives. It also suggests future work for fortification of this molecular tool so it could potentially be implemented into a rapid, cost-effective lateral flow test. Ultimately, this would provide fisheries protection services the means to enforce these important laws in the field.

Citation

Irwin, L. (2023). The Lobster Pregnancy Test: A Molecular Tool In Support Of Lobster Stocks And Fisheries In The UK. (Thesis). University of Salford

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Aug 18, 2023
Publicly Available Date Oct 30, 2023
Award Date Sep 29, 2023

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